When Lobethal farmers Rita and Giuliano Lorenzetti began processing their own milk and selling it to cafes in Adelaide in the 1980s, their neighbours thought they were crazy.

Now more than 30 years later, Tweedvale Milk has 15 staff and has chosen to focus on four core products – two milks and two creams – which have won state and national awards virtually every year since 2003.

Managing Director Carlo Lorenzetti says the success of Tweedvale’s products is thanks to the quality of the milk supplied by five farmers – three from the Lobethal area, one from Meadows and one from Murray Bridge.

Tweedvale Managing Director Carlo Lorenzetti.

“When we started, we had just our cows, but we couldn’t produce enough milk to meet demand, so we found a local farmer who could supply milk to us and it’s grown from there,” Carlo says.

“Our relationship with farmers is based on shared philosophies about milk quality. Our key suppliers in the Adelaide Hills are all small farms with 80 to 120 cows. We believe that small herds produce a better quality product – the farms are less stressful, the paddocks are less populated and the cow-to-farmer ratio has more balance.

“And being higher altitude there is more rain, the grass is greener for longer, it’s a little bit cooler and it adds up to high quality milk.”

Rita says the relationship between the milk processor and the dairy farmer is critical. “Without high quality milk, we don’t have a product. It’s all related,” Rita says.

“And we’ve always offered good prices for milk – higher than the big processors – which keeps good farmers supplying us and allows them to keep their herd sizes smaller.”

When Tweedvale started processing milk in the late 1980s, they were the first small processor in South Australia.

“Everyone labelled us crazy – all the other farmers thought Dad was mad!” says Carlo. “At the time, there were no other small processors in South Australia for Mum and Dad to learn from.”

Rita and Giuliano bought a second-hand pasteuriser for $13,000 and Rita taught herself how to use it. She says the support they received from the SA Dairy Authority in those early years was critical.

Tweedvale’s Rita, Giuliano and Carlo Lorenzetti.

“They had really experienced people working for them, and they helped us so much with information and guidelines,” Rita says. “They provided us with all the information about hygiene, bacteria, listeria and lots of other food safety topics, to help us avoid any problems. Before long, we were producing milk that stood out from what was on offer from the big processors.”

They took milk down to some Adelaide cafes to see if they were interested. Carlo says a savvy barista decided to try it in coffee and the results were amazing.

“It offered a thick, glossy micro-foam, full-bodied flavour and a creaminess that balanced the coffee’s bitterness,” Carlo said.

It didn’t take long for word to spread, and Tweedvale Milk became a barista favourite in Adelaide, the Barossa, the Adelaide Hills and the Fleurieu Peninsula. About 70% of Tweedvale milk goes to cafes, and 20% goes to SA supermarkets and other retail outlets.

The connection to coffee is strong – in fact, when you walk into the Tweedvale office, one of the first things you see is a sign on the door which says, Good Farms > Happy Cows > Tasty Milk > Great Coffee!

A Tweedvale poster.

Tweedvale has a refrigerated tanker that collects milk from farmers once a day. Milk is processed in a small factory at Lobethal which was built in 1995/96.

The company works closely with the Deliver It Group to manage daily deliveries to Adelaide’s cafes and supermarkets, ensuring a quality product from the factory to the consumer. 

“Quality and food safety are in our genes, passed down from Mum and Dad who have instilled in the business a strong food safety culture and an absolute focus on quality,” Carlo says.

Tweedvale Milk has consistently won South Australian and Australian awards for flavour, texture and performance since 2003, most recently winning the 2022 DIAA Australian Dairy Product Competition’s Highest Scoring Cream with its Tweedvale Milk Pure Pouring Cream.